Start planning your off-the-beaten-track trip to Tanzania
Getting off the beaten track in Tanzania gives adventurous travelers the chance to discover some of this country's highlights with fewer crowds. From scenic lakes and unique landscapes to wildlife spotting and water sports on the coast, this is a country full of wonderful surprises.
What’s the best way to travel off-the-beaten-track in Tanzania?
Traveling off the beaten path in Tanzania offers many rewards, though it can be challenging. There are train services in the larger towns and cities, and it is possible to book a taxi to some remote locations. However, it’s usually best to hire a car for a road trip, or take an organized tour. There are three major airports in the country—in Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar—so domestic flights can also help to cover the large distances and save time.
Best off-the-beaten-track activities and experiences in Tanzania
From the beautiful lakes of Nyasa and Tanganyika to the pristine beaches of Mafia Island and Saadani National Park, these are the top destinations for an off-the-beaten-track adventure in Tanzania.
Visit the pristine Lake Nyasa
Lake Nyasa is the local name for Lake Malawi, which lies on the border of Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique. Although these tranquil waters with rising mountains behind are very popular for swimming, the Tanzanian side is rarely visited but is just as beautiful.
See the ‘Big Five’ in Saadani National Park
Tanzania is well-known for its wildlife, so much so that some safaris and parks can get very crowded during peak season. Avoid the crowds by heading to the lesser-visited Saadani National Park. Although only small, you can still see the "Big Five" here.
Relax on Mafia Island
Lesser-known and much quieter than neighboring Zanzibar, Mafia Island is an idyllic tropical paradise offering laid-back but luxurious accommodation. The island has striking white-sand beaches and offers amazing snorkeling and scuba diving.
Discover the chimpanzees of Mahale
The Mahale Mountains are located near the shores of Lake Tanganyika, close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. These mountains are also home to wild chimpanzees and it’s possible to see them on a day trip.
Take the ferry to Ukerewe Island
Sitting on the vast Lake Victoria, Ukerewe Island is great for hiking and cycling through lush landscapes with brilliant views of the waters almost everywhere you look. Ukerewe Island offers a back-to-basics travel experience, but with very few visitors it’s a spectacular place.
Tips for planning an off-the-beaten-track adventure in Tanzania
Reaching many of Tanzania's more off-the-beaten-track destinations is only possible by car or organized tour. Tanzania's coastal regions have a warm, tropical climate and the interior is dry and arid, so be sure to pack cool clothing, sun protection, sturdy shoes, and a wet weather jacket. If viewing wildlife, it’s important to be cautious and always follow your guide's instructions.